Characters: Donna/Ten (John Smith), TenII (Andy Smith), Donald Peterson, OCs
Word Count: 3286
Summary: another office, another set of faces to learn for Donna Noble. But suddenly there are two of them, and they are causing her all sorts of problems.
Disclaimer: I own the mini film running in my head and absolutely nothing else here.
A/N: I'd better stop fiddling with the end of this otherwise it’ll grow yet again.
Previously: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15 |
Before Donna saw John’s mother again, there was one mystery that HAD to be solved. That’s why she had somewhat made a detour from their latest location trip while John and Andy were discussing the finer qualities of different latex rubbers with a supplier; and was
standing on the front doorstep of a smallish cottage on a badly lit street of a village. At the time, she hadn’t suspected why John had allowed her to drive his car and said he would return to the hotel with Andy; she’d just been glad to have the freedom to investigate while being less than thirty miles from a possible answer.
It had hardly taken her any time to find the right address. The door opened and a familiar if slightly different looking man gazed out at her. He looked exactly like John did when he didn’t have the beard, but this man had a different air about him. His clothing wasn’t as refined or expensive as the clothing John wore, yet many of his gentle mannerisms were present. Only the additional wrinkles around his eyes made her realise this wasn’t John standing in front of her but she was instantly drawn to him.
“Yes, can I help you?” He then loudly gasped in partial recognition, “Sophie! What are you doing here?”
Who? “Sorry, I’m not Sophie; and I’m not sure you can help me or not,” she cautiously admitted, purposefully stepping further into the light from the porch to let him see her more clearly. “Are you a member of the Smith family at Gallifreyan Productions?”
“I am,” he confirmed. “Sorry about the misunderstanding; for a moment I thought I knew you. Someone I used to know a long time ago. What connection do you have with the Smiths? Hopefully you aren’t here trying to blackmail me into providing extra funds for the school.”
“Dad,” a young boy from behind him blurted out, “that’s the lady from Grandma’s”
“What did you say, David?” the man queried, turning around to face his son. “Do you know this woman?”
Ah, here was some common ground at last. “Hello David! Nice to see you again,” Donna greeted him as he stood warily within an interior doorframe. “I’m Donna. Donna Noble,” she introduced herself to his dad. “I know your brothers.”
“Oh, right!” the man gulped, now knowing who this stranger was. “I’m Donald, David’s dad,” he blustered, awkwardly offering a hand to shake. “I heard about the scene… I mean, you, at Mother’s home.”
“So I gather,” she noted. “You’re nothing like Roderick, are you. More like John.”
“Well, we are brothers,” he replied. “I mean… half-brothers. You know, not the full thing. Do you want to come in?” He stood aside in invitation for her to enter the house. “My wife Sarah isn’t here at the moment. Sorry. But I’m sure I can rustle us up a cup of tea while you tell me what you want.”
“Thank you, that’d be lovely,” she acknowledged as she stepped into the hallway and then followed him further into the house and eventually the kitchen.
It was a pleasant enough house. Nowhere near as grand as his brother’s or mother’s homes; but much more humble. There was a slightly chaotic air to it that many teachers’ homes have, filled with original features and little artefacts. Plus books; loads of books.
“So what is it you wanted to ask me?” he began, as he bustled about with the tea things in the kitchen. He gestured for her to sit at the table on one of the wooden chairs.
“This may seem like a bit of a cheek,” she began, “but I wanted to know why your wife isn’t properly accepted into the family.”
“Oh!” Donald had to quickly retrieve the teapot from being dropped onto the harsh granite flagstones of the floor. He almost threw it down onto the kitchen table. “What makes you say that?” he bumbled.
Obviously hit a nerve then. “I saw your son at your mother’s house but apparently only you dropped him off when you went away on holiday, and only you picked him up again. David is obviously welcome if your mother is prepared to look after him, but it’s odd that your wife doesn’t visit. At all. Jenny told me that she has rarely seen her aunt. Considering that Sarah is her only aunt, don’t you think that is more than a bit strange?”
Donald’s eyes had gone wide, and he was desperately casting his gaze about the kitchen as though an answer would pop up out of nowhere. “No,” he squeaked, falling down onto a seat. He then distracted himself by carefully pouring out the tea. “Sarah was merely packing for our holiday.”
“And I’m a Dutchman,” Donna scorned. Her tone then softened. “I’m not trying to get at her; I just want to know what she apparently did that’s so terrible.”
“She did nothing wrong. It was my fault,” he confessed. “We were young, fresh out of college and in love. You know how it is. She would have done anything for me. Her wish was to have children. And I don’t know why I am telling you all this…”
“Maybe it’s because you can sense that I’m a friend.”
“There’s definitely something about you. It’s in your…” …Aura. He had almost said it, but it would have been extremely unwise to do so. Hadn’t it been drummed into him to never divulge anything that he saw or detected about a person? Even when it shone as brightly as it did around this woman who looked so much like Sophie that it hurt. But that was all long ago, before he had met Sarah. Rebounded almost. Probably. “…Face,” he finished instead. “Are you really dating our John?”
“Yes,” she quietly admitted, feeling the enormity of being able to say that. “But I don’t know a great deal about your family or why there is a rift.”
Rift! He jerked slightly in response. “I did the whole thing wrong. Our romance was a whirlwind one that had us eloping to escape Sarah’s father’s disapproval, and my mother. I take it that you’ve met my mother and know how she can be.” He waited for a confirming nod before continuing. “I wanted to marry Sarah to spite her; to do things my way instead of how we are meant to behave. That backfired on me and I have paid the price ever since.”
“The whole doing things your way doesn’t sound so bad,” Donna reasoned.
“Oh it was!” Donald protested. “Our family has set protocols about everything, especially marriage. Because I didn’t gain the proper consent from both sets of parents, running off like we did, my mother cannot fully accept my wife into her antiquated life. But we’ve been happy together, and we now have our son, David. He has been a blessing, in more ways than one.”
“Are you seriously saying that because your mother cannot forgive you for eloping, you’ve been technically ostracised from the family?” Donna complained. “That is bonkers! I am so sorry.”
He grimaced, trying to stay cheerful. “Thanks. Whatever you do, if you go through with an engagement, make sure you let John take the steps he needs to beforehand. Don’t rush him.”
“I’m not sure…,” she started to deny; and was shocked when Donald reached over to place a hand above hers on the table top.
“I heard, and I am sure John will want to take your relationship further. You are made for each other,” he gently insisted. “Let him explain everything about our family. In case you haven’t noticed, we’re a little bit different from other people.”
“And the rest,” she scoffed. “Weird doesn’t begin to describe you lot. It’s like you’re from another world, where old fashioned manners are really important.”
“You’ve hit the nail on the head. I should tell you that my wife does not know the whole truth and I am forbidden from telling her.”
“What!” Donna couldn’t help exclaiming. “That’s wrong.”
“It’s true; so gain the correct consent, from Mother, your mother and Jenny, and John will be able to share every secret with you.”
“That sounds remarkably like a bribe,” she noted.
“No, it would be a reward,” he assured her, and gave her hand a comforting pat. “He wants you in his life and I know he would go through what I have done if it meant being the only way to be with you.”
Isn’t he a cutie! “Blimey, you’ve inherited the gift of the gab too,” she commented to dismiss her growing excitement. John and me. Me and John! “Thank you so much for making me feel better.”
“You are very welcome.” He beamed a smile in her direction. “And say hello to my little brother for me.”
“I’ll do better than that,” she instantly promised, “I’ll bring him here myself to see you.”
Donald could already see the warm glow around her increase as her connection to the family grew. “I’d love that. Make it soon.”
When his car wasn’t sitting in the hotel car park when they got back, John tried not to be too worried. His tentative connection with Donna reassured him that she was on her way back to him from her task. But it didn’t take him too long to give in and walk down the corridor to her room and check she was okay.
“Hello. Did you have a pleasant drive in my car?” he greeted her when her door opened and she inevitably invited him in.
“You know, don’t you,” she accused him. “Go on, tell me off.”
“I know nothing,” he tried to deny; clutching his chest to portray his innocence. “Alright, I saw that you had looked up my brother’s address, so it wasn’t hard to guess that’s where you’ve been.”
She turned and huffed. “You ought to be a detective. You’re wasted doing this sort of thing.”
“Oh, I don’t know. I have my successes,” he countered, wrapping himself around her from behind. “Well aren’t you going to tell me what you found out?”
“Sarah’s heinous crime was eloping with your brother,” she supplied, unable to resist the onslaught of his lips upon her neck. Good grief! The man made her putty in his hands. “I still don’t understand why you couldn’t have told me yourself.”
“I would have done,” he whispered next to her skin. “You smell wonderful.” All full of me. “It is going to be extra hard to leave you alone tonight.”
“Then stay,” she invited. Stay the night with me.
I want to, more than anything. “Perhaps I’ll wait a little bit longer,” he considered as she turned within his embrace, “it would be rude not to.”
She reached up to kiss him. “Very rude.”
“But I do have to return to my room,” he distracted himself by saying, “to sleep, and look after things.”
“Why do you need to rush back?” she wondered. “Don’t tell me. You keep an alien in your bedroom just like Elliott did in ET.”
“Well…,” he cautiously began. “Something like that.”
“You are kidding me!” she gasped in disbelief. “Can I see it? Your pet alien, I mean.”
He equally sighed in exasperation. “I don’t have a pet alien. Not unless I could remotely consider YOU as such.”
“What do you mean? I’m not an alien, you blithering idiot,” she stormed.
“You are to me,” he quietly spoke.
This is it: the moment to confess all. “Donna,” he carefully began, “there’s something I have to tell you.”
Stepping away, she readied herself to hear something awful. “Alright. Little bit weirded out by how serious you’ve gone, but go ahead, tell me. Will I need tissues when I burst into tears because you are terminally ill?”
“No, hopefully you won’t need to sob,” he considered thoughtfully, “although you might change your mind about me.”
A kink, then? “If it’s a fetish thing, like walking around of a night time in a lady’s nightie, I’m sure I can be very broadminded and overlook it eventually.”
“No cross dressing is involved,” he assured her, smiling in amusement despite himself. If this was her version of a worst case scenario perhaps he might not be so doomed after all. “My brothers Roderick and Donald are not my half-brothers; instead, they are my full brothers.”
Eh? “So does this mean that your mum and dad had a love affair before they got together?” she tried to reason out. “It’s not exactly unknown, and no reason to have a huge family secret about it these days.”
“With my family it is,” he responded, and sighed deeply. “We are not like other people’s families; we don’t follow the same rules. We don’t even live and die like other people do.” He then halted as though he had said too much.
“What do you mean by that? Are you suggesting there was something different about your late dad?”
“Yes. Yes I am,” he confessed. “When Father changed his face, he had to also change his second name; hence my older brothers having a different surname.”
“Changed his face?” She gawped at him for some seconds. “Was your dad part of the pioneering surgery to give burns victims new faces?”
He shook his head. Say it! “We… that is… the whole of my immediate family… we aren’t exactly human.”
“Not human?!” Her mind spiralled away. “Like some sort of ape clones. DNA grafted onto a gorilla. What exactly are you trying to tell me?”
“We’re alien, Donna!” he eventually forced out. “We did not originally come from this planet. And we are not clones despite appearing that way. Instead, we were formed in our version of a test tube; we’re from a loom.”
“You’re knitted?! Now I’ve heard everything,” she gasped.
“ARGH!” he cried in frustration, grabbing his hair. “Why would you think we were knitted?”
“I don’t know!” she defended herself. “You mentioned weaving machines, not me!”
“I merely meant that that is what they were called. I’m not saying that my mother sat down with a Sirdar pattern and chose baby wool colours and knitting needle sizes.”
“You seem to know an awful lot about it for someone who doesn’t knit,” she commented.
“I never said…!” He then stopped his line of thought. “You’re making fun of me.”
“It’s a bit hard not to, you must admit,” she reasoned. Gorgeous berk! “It does make all the alien promo stuff make sense now though. Or that it has been your life’s work creating friendly aliens. Yes, makes perfect sense.” She nodded to add emphasis.
“So, are you okay with that?” he guardedly wondered.
“Sort of. Yeah. Once I’ve had a chance to get over the shock. I mean, stands to reason that a perfectly handsome bloke with oodles of intelligence, and don’t even mention the pots of money, who turns out to be interested in me, wouldn’t exactly be ‘normal’; whatever that is. This is bonkers and brilliant, all at the same time. You’ve not said where you really came from, unless there is an alien world underneath Surrey. I’ve had my suspicions, I have to say…”
Oh this glorious woman! “We came from Gallifrey in the constellation of Kasterborous, as refugees during the Last Great Time War.”
“Jenny mentioned that constellation,” she quietly noted. “Gallifrey. Like your production company. Clever. I’d have never worked it out. Did you escape from Roswell?”
“That was a different family. We were the lights in the Suffolk woods incident.”
“Ah yes. I remember reading about that one. Got the nearby British and American soldiers all worked up, you tinkers!” she fondly chided him.
He suitably blushed. “It did rather highlight the need for a more positive public image. Apparently Father was mortified by the fuss.”
“What did you do with your spaceship? No doubt dug a massive hole in the back garden.”
“She’s errr, she’s standing in my bedroom at home,” he pointed out. “Do you want to see a photo?”
“What! But how? There’s nothing like that in your room.” She then eagerly waited for him to bring up a photo on his mobile phone; letting him proudly hold it out towards her. “That’s a… Hang on, that’s a vintage police phone box. Since when were they magically spaceships?” she scoffed.
“When we learned how to disguise our craft with a chameleon circuit.” He then opened another saved photo. “This is the inside.”
Despite the darkness inside, it was easy to see that the innards contained a massive space. “This is really your spaceship? Why is it all dark? The batteries obviously need charging up.”
His mood dropped. “Sadly, we’ve had to let her sit there and die since Father breathed his last.”
“That is so sad,” she agreed. “It makes you a bit like washed up whales; or local Romani people forced to live in council houses. I bet they miss you all back home on Gallifrey.”
To her dismay his eyes teared up.
“There is no one left there. They all died at the end of the war. We are all that remains of our world.”
“Oh John!” she sympathetically cried, and threw her arms around him to offer comfort. “At least you’ve proved, through Jenny, that they can live on in some small way. Where there’s life, there’s hope,” she whispered. “And I’ll do my best to help you cope with your loss.”
“Would you do all that for silly old me?”
“I’d have done it if you were just a humble dustman,” she assured him. “But you being an alien refugee adds to your cause.”
“Then it’s a good job I hadn’t mentioned we are Time Lords.”
“Really? You’re lords? With all the fancy cloaks and fur and stuff?” she queried, releasing her hold on him. “That explains all the money and grand houses.”
“Not entirely,” he admitted. “Houses were involved.”
“Then would Sir care for a cup of tea?” she offered, and turned to put the hotel room kettle on. “Or I can offer a coffee, and a shortbread biscuit,” she added, picking up the small cellophane wrapped treat.
There was a delicate cough behind her.
Looking back at John, she was shocked to see him down on his hands and knees. “Have you dropped something, like a contact lens? What does it look like?” she helpfully asked, peering intensely down at the carpet.
“Donna,” he said, halting her from clambering down next to him, “you have just freed me from the last obstacle.”
“Obstacle? What obstacle?” she openly wondered. Surely a cup of tea couldn’t cause a problem. “What did it stop you doing?”
“This,” he triumphantly declared, bringing out of his pocket a small blue ring box.
“No!” she denied, unable to believe this was happening to her. Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God!!!
So he soldiered on. Oh yes, my accepting love! “Will you do me the honour of becoming my wife? I love you, Donna. Please say ‘yes’.”
“Yes,” she quietly replied at first. “YES! Bloody yes!” she excitedly continued, just in case he hadn’t got the message.
“I need to ask your mother’s permission as well,” he informed her.
She scowled. Did you have to mention her!? “Why did you have to spoil the moment?”
“Do you really think she will refuse?” he worriedly questioned her, looking suddenly crestfallen.
Unable to hide her grin, she threw herself on him, and hugged him tightly. “Honestly, she’ll be delighted. Now put the ring on for real. I want to show it off.”
“Anything for you,” he happily replied, already more than half way to doing just that.